Abbey of Saint-Étienne

14000 Caen, France

Spotting the Abbey of Saint-Étienne, also called Abbaye aux Hommes or Men’s Abbey, in Caen is not hard at all. It’s towers are dominating the city. When you are next to it, the towers look like they are touching the sky. Along with the Abbaye aux Dames or Ladies’ Abbey, not far from this one, they are known to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. William the Conqueror used to be buried here and his wife, Matilda, was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. William’s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda’s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered. The only remaining part of him, that is still buried in the Abbey is his femur. Abbey of Saint-Étienne is still a functioning place of worship, when we got there a wedding was being performed. I think it’s really cool to be married in a place that William the Conqueror built and where he is buried. It may sound morbid but to me it’s a piece of great ancient history present with us today.

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